ALLEN, TX — Not long ago the middle period of a hockey game was unkind to the Tulsa Oilers. A strong first period would give way to a blown lead in the second and the team would struggle to catch up in the third.
Not on Friday night in the home of the two-time ECHL defending champions.
Three goals in the second period helped the Oilers seize the lead en route to a 4-2 victory over the Allen Americans, avenging a heartbreaker of an overtime loss at home on Tuesday night in the BOK Center.
Spencer Asuchak opened the scoring late in the first period on the power play as he redirected a centering pass through Oilers goalie Jamie Phillips to end the opening 20 minutes with a 1-0 home team lead.
Then with less than two minutes off the puck drop in the second frame Ben Murphy, the hero of the Oilers shootout win last Saturday night against Wichita snuck the puck over Americans goaltender Riley Gill’s blocker to bring the game even at 1-1, ending over 80 minutes of scoreless hockey from Tulsa in two games.
Dmitri Ognev the scored his first goal as an Oiler near the midway point of the game when he stole the puck away from an Americans defender and ripped it over Gill’s shoulder to put Tulsa out in front for the first time, a lead added to 67 seconds later when Chris Joyaux netted his first career goal to put the Oilers in front by two goals.
The two-time ECHL scoring champion Chad Costello then scored for the Americans on the power play late in the second period, pulling the home club to within one goal of the lead.
That would be the closest the Americans would get, but it wasn’t for lack of trying or additional help from the guys in black and white stripes.
In the third period, the Oilers killed off two power plays, killing a total of four out of six when it was all said and done before Danick Gauthier slid home an empty net, power play goal putting the game out of reach once and for all.
It was a shooting gallery for Jamie Phillips in the Tulsa net as he made 30 saves on 32 Allen shots. Gill faced 23 shots, saving 20 of them.
The Oilers put home one power play goal on two opportunities, a slight improvement over past games. The Americans netted a pair of man-advantage marks on six attempts at the power play, giving the Oilers a strong argument as being one of the better full strength clubs in the ECHL.
The rubber match between the two clubs…or the third game in five days…takes place on Saturday night in Allen.